Top 10 books in 2021

2021 has brought us some incredible titles. If you want to read the books that people can’t stop talking about this year (so far), see below for our list of powerful memoirs, page-turning novels, and more!

10 - Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari and the Night Brothers
by B. B. Alston 

It’s not often that a debut book comes around that enchants our hearts and minds as much as Amari and the Night Brothers did. Chock full of imagination, heart and spellbinding magical fun, this book is middle-grade fantasy at its finest. B.B. Alston’s fantastical world-building is the icing on the cake of this epic tale of courage, friendship and determination that is deserving of a place on the bookshelves of young readers for many years to come.

9 - Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter
by Angeline Boulley

Debut author Angeline Boulley has crafted an immersive and heart-stopping thriller told through the eyes of 18-year-old Daunis, a biracial, unenrolled member of the Ojibwe tribe. With crystal meth abuse on the rise in her community, Daunis uses her knowledge of science and native medicine to go undercover as a confidential informant with the FBI, but what she uncovers makes her question everything she’s ever known. Boulley’s authentic depictions of the complexities of Native communities and the trauma and strength of Native women, specifically, make this book a complete standout for YA and adult readers alike.

8 -Aftershocks

Aftershocks: A Memoir
by Nadia Owusu

A searing and wonderful debut work; a memoir that stares hard at the fault lines that sorrow and trauma etch into us and into those we love. It is as well a meditation on the meaning of home and the raw urgency of family. In a world that loves a simple explanation, but is rent by sexism, racism, nationalism and hurt, Owusu offers up the reality of complication and the ability to embrace and create our own stories. Aftershocks is a book that will linger in the mind long after the last page.

7 - Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart
by Michelle Zauner

If you’re not familiar with the name Michelle Zauner, you may recognize her band, Japanese Breakfast. Zauner is an amazing songwriter and her writing chops are on full display in this often wistful memoir describing life as a rebellious youth trying to reconcile her Asian heritage in a very white Eugene, Oregon.

6 -Dusk, Night, Dawn

Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage (B&N Exclusive Edition)
by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is back with a collection of beautifully written essays. Her goal here is to illuminate how we can go on in spite of all that is difficult. Her voice is wry, humorous and laden with wisdom. I lost count of the number of quotes I circled. This is the book we need from a voice we love.

5 - Madhouse at the End of the Earth

Madhouse at the End of the Earth:

The Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night
by Julian Sancton

Meticulously researched and realized, with a deep novelistic flare, Madhouse at the End of the Earth reconstructs the action-packed survival story of an early expedition to the South Pole. Amundson, Cook and an inexperienced, undisciplined crew, on an ill-fated ship, imprisoned in the Antarctic ice and darkness. This tale of adventure, excitement and, indeed, terror will captivate those who were drawn to The Lost City of Z, In the Kingdom of Ice and In the Heart of the Sea. Julian Sancton has gifted us an insanely gripping book from start to finish.

4 - Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary
by Andy Weir 

The only hope for humanity rests with Dr. Ryland Grace—if only he could remember his mission. Andy Weir, the bestselling author of The Martian, delivers another perfect science-based thriller with Project Hail Mary, a tale of impending catastrophe, survival and interstellar adventure.

3 - The Lost Apothecary

The Lost Apothecary
by Sarah Penner

An avenging woman in the guise of a quiet apothecary takes center stage in this propulsive historical fiction debut. In 18th-century London, women come to Nella when they need to take action against the abusive men in their life. Soon, the very young Eliza is involved with an act gone wrong, and a modern woman’s search for meaning, in the present-day, becomes irrevocably tied with the past. With immersive storytelling, a dark, gothic atmosphere and unforgettable characters, this is a subversive debut that should not be missed.

2 - Things We Lost to the Water

Things We Lost to the Water
by Eric Nguyen

Things We Lost to the Water is a mesmerizing debut of familial bonds, assimilation and home that centers around an immigrant Vietnamese family. Separated from her husband, Huong must figure out how to make a life for herself and her two young sons in New Orleans while coming to terms with the fact that her life will never be as she imagined. The family adapts to American life in ways that sometimes threaten to cause a rift between them, and it is only when Hurricane Katrina devastates their new home city that they find their way back to one another.

1 - The Four Winds

The Four Winds
by Kristin Hannah

Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah’s stunningly beautiful and heart-wrenching dustbowl drama traces the conflicts and challenges faced by Elsa and her family, who journey west in search of a better life. Elsa’s critical choices shape the lives of the people around her for generations to come.

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